THE NARRATIVE ARC

For Daughters Who Can Never Find a Father’s Day Card That Fits…

Hallmark doesn’t make rhyming couplets for my challenging relationship with Dad

Dana DuBois
The Narrative Arc
Published in
7 min readJun 14, 2024

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An old faded photo of a little girl and her dad at the beach.
I think I’m about two in this photo, on the Massachusetts beach with my Dad. Photo from author’s mom.

My dad meant well.

But it was hard, growing up as Mitch’s daughter.

I know he loved me as best he could. But his capabilities were sorely limited by his Type-A explosive personality, as well as his lack of introspection and emotional intelligence characteristic of men of the era. Add an ample dose of misogyny, xenophobia, and conservatism into the mix, and well, that was my dad.

From a very young age — before I could name or understand the feeling — I knew what it was like to have someone suck the energy out of a room. I looked forward to the nights when he’d play tennis. Our house felt peaceful, quiet, and cool. As soon as he’d walk in the door, his lumbering presence would take over and we’d all cower, a bit smaller — and warmer. His first act upon returning home was always to adjust the AC to a hotter temperature, grumbling about power bills that young me couldn’t understand.

I just knew he didn’t take our comfort into consideration.

When Father’s Day rolled around each year, I’d read through the cards on the…

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Dana DuBois
The Narrative Arc

Publisher for Pink Hair & Pronouns and Three Imaginary Girls. Boost nominator. I'm a GenX word nerd living in the PNW with a whole lot of little words to share.